Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Peckham Public Meeting

Last night I attended the Public Meeting which had been called to discuss the 3 recent murders in Peckham including that of 21 year old Javorie Crighton and 15 year old Michael Dosunmu. The meeting room was full to capacity with many people standing outside the building trying to get in. Apart from the many community leaders who attended, including Harriet Harman MP and Malcolm Tillyer the Borough Police Commander, many local residents came to the meeting in order to express their shock, anger and unity in the face of these awful crimes.

Although I had to leave before the meeting had ended, there were several thoughtful contributions from residents who expressed the view that young people needed real support at home from their families - the alternative was getting support within the culture of a gang.

I suppose that in an ideal world every child would find all the support and comfort which they need within a loving family. But we know that for too many young people that support does not exist. So that is why outside bodies - such as schools, or the council, or community groups, must try and step in to provide that support. It is a difficult job, but not impossible.

Others spoke of the need for positive role models for young men in Peckham. Looking around the room last night I could see many positive role models - not just those who have achieved sporting success such as Anton Ferdinand and Lloyd Honeghan, but those other members of our community who work hard in difficult jobs to make their homes and our area a better place.

It was right last night to remember the three recent victims of those horrific crimes and their families - but it is also always right to remember the unreported good news that is going on day in and day out in Peckham and right across Southwark.

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